Frequently Asked Questions

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The government has updated the numbers for churches in the Green, Yellow, and Orange zones to 250 people max. This does NOT apply to the Red zones.

Read our newsletter on the matter.

The Legault government ask organizers to cancel all events that may attract crowds and to do the same for all other large gatherings that are not considered essential.

Read our newsletter on the matter.

Here is the links for the manual which provides some basic guidelines from REQ that can be applied in the province of Quebec. As we receive more specifics for Quebec from our government, we will keep you informed.

English

French

Read our newsletter on the matter.

Here is the links for the manual which provides some basic guidelines that can be applied across the provinces. As we receive more specifics for Quebec from our government, we will keep you informed.

English

French

Read our newsletter on the matter.

Several churches have contacted the “Directeur de l’état civil” asking if they are allowed to perform weddings.
The general answer given is that weddings performed during this time will be considered legal.

However, does that mean that you can gather five or more people together?
The answer is “NO – but maybe”.

Each municipality and each local police force are responsible for applying and enforcing the regulations, AND they may have different opinions on what these regulations are and how they should be applied.

Our advice is to contact your local police (and or municipality) and ask them what they are allowing in your area and what they would allow in your building. – Be sure to get the name of the person giving you the information.

In some areas (outside of Montreal), police have allowed small groups of people to be in the church building at the same time, provided physical distancing is maintained.
In other areas, they have refused to allow anything more than three people.

You may also consider options such as an outdoor wedding. Again, it is important to consult your local police to see what would be permitted in your area.

Read our newsletter on the matter.

When it comes to funerals, the responsibility rests on the funeral home. Some funeral homes may allow small numbers of people. The number of people permitted may vary depending on their facility and the local municipality and police.

Read our newsletter on the matter.

Here are some questions and answers regarding the Annual Business Meeting

Do we need to have an Annual Business Meeting?

Yes – both the law and the constitution are clear that the church must have an Annual Business Meeting. Annual means Annual, and therefore, the meeting must be held before the end of the year.

Read our newsletter on the matter.

🌎 You’re itching to help your community but don’t know where to start?

Here are some ideas:
1. Some people are sewing masks for medical staff, are helping out at food banks, or are even grocery shopping for those who can’t get around.
2. Contact your city (e-mail). Their website may already have a press release on the subject.
3. The following link lists, by region and city, organizations looking for volunteers.
👉 https://www.jebenevole.ca/

💡💡 Why not also use this opportunity to mobilize your assembly?

GOVERNMENT FINANCIAL AID

We are continuing to monitor the information regarding the government programs available to assist businesses (including Charities).

Here is the most recent information:

– Regarding Employment (Employees) –

There are currently two programs that could be interesting to the churches.

Here is a quick outline of what we know:

10% Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employers
10% of Federal tax portion of payroll

Churches can withhold 10% of the Federal tax portion of the regular Deductions At Source.

Here is a link for further information:

– Click link

CEWS – Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy
75 % of payroll

The application forms for this program will be available Monday, April 27.

The key things we’ve picked up are:

The program will provide a 75% wage subsidy to employers for up to 12 weeks going back to March 15.

The purpose of the program is:

  • To prevent job losses.
  • To rehire those laid off.
  • Allow companies to resume regular activity.

Who qualifies?

  • Those with 15% reduction of income in March 2020 compared to March 2019.
  • Those with 30% reduction of Income in April and May compared to the same months in 2019.

Applying:

  • You must apply for the subsidy each month separately. (i.e. each month you must provide documentation of the 30% loss for that particular month).
  • The CRA will pay 75% of salaries, capped at $847 per week per employee. The employer must show they did their best to pay the other 25% (and if the employee makes more than $58,700 per year, presumably they are allowed to pay the full salary).
  • The government strongly recommends that anyone applying should also get set up with the CRA for direct deposit if they aren’t already, as that is the primary way they will be sending money to employers. This is something that you can do now.

Time Periods:

March 15 – April 11
April 12 – May 9
May 10 – June 6

  • If you qualify in one time period, you are deemed qualified for the next time period automatically.
  • There may be additional time periods added up until September 30.

Here is a link for further information:

– Click link

– Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) –

$40,000 loan 
This program would provide interest-free loans of up to $40,000.

Purpose of loan:

The loan is to help cover operating costs during a period where revenues have been temporarily reduced.

To qualify:

you will need to demonstrate that you paid at least $20,000 in total payroll in 2019 as well as meet the criteria for an approved Borrower.

There is some question on the eligibility of a religious organization in this program. Currently, the wording indicates that a “…charitable, religious…organization…” will need to provide evidence that it “…generates a portion of its revenue from the sales of goods or services…”

While there is no definition of what “a portion” is, in my opinion, churches will have to prove that there is revenue from sales or services of some kind.

The important part in considering this loan program is that an approved borrower that repays the balance of the loan on or before December 31, 2022, will result in loan forgiveness of 25 percent (up to $10,000).

How to apply:

You will need to contact your financial institution to apply for the loan.

– Click link to know more.

  • PREMIUM HOLIDAY – your premiums for Health, Dental & Vision (where applicable) will not be billed for the month of April, which represents approximately 70% of the cost of your program.
  • POOLED PREMIUMS – will only be billed for Life/Dependent Life/LTD – Long Term Disability/CI – Critical Illness, which ensures that we do not disrupt any payroll setting, as these premiums have taxable consequences.  These premiums represent approximately 30% of the cost of your program.

Read our newsletter on the matter.

These two will do tax receipts for you:

Others:

  • Square https://squareup.com also offers both in person and online payments with credit and debit cards.

Look at: https://paoc.org/church-toolbox.

Read our newsletter on the matter.

Reminder of copyright standards

We are aware that a number of churches have chosen to cancel services. Some of these will turn to video broadcasting online through various means.
We would like to remind you that it is a copyright violation to broadcast music performances if you do not have the performances rights (license) this includes your worship service. If you chose to broadcast the worship you MUST have the licensed rights to do so. Exceptions to this are for some of the older hymns where copyrights have expired due to age or song that you own people have written.

Read our newsletter on the matter.

November 4th, 2020

Here are some questions and answers regarding the
Annual Business Meeting

Do we need to have an Annual Business Meeting?

Yes – both the law and the constitution are clear that the church must have an Annual Business Meeting. Annual means Annual, and therefore, the meeting must be held before the end of the year.

How can we do this?

During these exceptional times, several methods can be used to hold a business meeting. Some ideas are in person, online, behind the wheel, etc. or in any combination of methods. Zoom seems to be one of the most popular.

Most constitutions do not refer to methods other than the in-person meeting. However, the government has made it clear (order number 2020-029) that we are in unprecedented times, and the meeting may be held via other means.

A link that may provide some additional information is:
Remote Meetings Are Temporarily Authorized In Quebec

  Here is a brief excerpt:

  • … the order temporarily allows any in-person meeting, session or assembly (a “meeting”) to be held by any means that enables all participants to communicate directly with one another.
    Meetings held by corporations governed by the Quebec Business Corporations Act (the “QBCA”), non-profit legal persons constituted under Part III of the Companies Act (the “Companies Act”) and cooperatives constituted under the Cooperatives Act or any other specific incorporating law (collectively, the “Laws Governing Cooperatives”) are considered a meeting pursuant to the Order.

Do we need a Quorum?

Yes, you must fulfill the requirements of your constitution for the quorum and the members must be “present.”

Furthermore, the meeting must be properly announced by some acceptable means (email to all members, announced during the Sunday meetings, etc.)

Can we have pre-meeting or proxy voting?

Churches have asked about mailing ballots, proxy voting, or other voting methods either as part of or prior to the meeting.

The short answer is that the standard constitution does NOT allow for any of this. When minimum numbers are required, the constitution uses the phrase: “the members present and voting at the meeting.” This makes it very clear that the members must somehow be present, and the vote must take place at the meeting.

What do we need to cover?

My suggestion is to pass three resolutions at the meeting:

  1. Accept the meeting method you have chosen to be official. (i.e. we accept this meeting as our official annual meeting)
  2. Accept the financial report. (this could be presented during the meeting or even sent out ahead of time)
  3. If board members are at the end of their term, you need to do something. I suggest a resolution to accept that the Board of Directors continues to function as is until the 2021 meeting, notwithstanding constitutional requirements to the contrary.

The less business, the better, and if you can avoid voting for board members, that would be good.

—–
I trust that you will hold tight to our Savior during these interesting times. – The anchor holds! Hebrews 6.

John

September 30th, 2020

GOOD NEWS, the government has updated the numbers for churches

Dear friends,

The government has updated the numbers for churches in the Green, Yellow, and Orange zones to 250 people max. This does NOT apply to the Red zones.

Here is the French excerpt:

Activités organisées dans un lieu public

Selon le niveau d’alerte en vigueur dans votre région, les activités organisées dans un lieu public (salles louées, événements festifs, mariages, célébrations professionnelles ou scolaires, etc.) sont permises à condition de respecter les mesures suivantes :

  • Pour les régions ou les territoires qui sont au Palier 1 – Vigilance (vert) ou au Palier 2 – Préalerte (jaune), les activités doivent se limiter à un maximum de 50 personnes à l’intérieur et 250 personnes à l’extérieur. Pour les lieux de culte, le maximum autorisé est de 250 personnes.
  • Pour les régions ou les territoires qui sont au Palier 3 – Alerte (orange), les activités doivent se limiter à un maximum de 25 personnes à l’intérieur et à l’extérieur. Pour les lieux de culte, le maximum autorisé est de 250 personnes.

Here is the link:
https://www.quebec.ca/sante/problemes-de-sante/a-z/coronavirus-2019/rassemblements-evenements-covid19/
This is NOT yet reflected on the English site as of this time.

For a complete list of restrictions, see:
https://www.quebec.ca/en/health/health-issues/a-z/2019-coronavirus/progressive-regional-alert-and-intervention-system/level-4-maximum-alert-red/

For a map of the areas:
https://www.quebec.ca/en/health/health-issues/a-z/2019-coronavirus/progressive-regional-alert-and-intervention-system/map-of-covid-19-alert-levels-by-region/

—–
I trust that you will hold tight to our Savior during these interesting times. – The anchor holds! Hebrews 6.

John

September 21st, 2020

A maximum of 50 people throughout the province

Hi Friends,

Please be advised that yesterday September 20, 2020, the Quebec government issued a new order in regards to the Pandemic.

This new order restricts places of worship to a maximum of 50 people throughout the province.

However, please note that as indicated in our earlier email – those areas that are at level 3 or above (orange or red) have further restrictions.

—–
I trust that you will hold tight to our Savior during these interesting times. – The anchor holds! Hebrews 6.

John

September 3rd, 2020

Answers to several questions regarding the change to the law for places of worship

We have had several questions regarding the change to the law concerning places of worship. Let me try to clarify it for you.

Hi Friends,

On August 26, the Health Minister passed an amendment to the original law regarding the wearing of masks (July 15).

This amendment allows:

  • Seating of 1.5 meters rather than 2
  • The people may remove the masks when seated.
  • The pastor (or volunteer) may remove the mask to speak etc. provided they are at least 2 meters from the people.

Some of you have enquired, asking does this now allow us to sing?
Well, the short answer is that, to our knowledge, no law was written that prohibited singing. However, it was strongly recommended that churches do not have congregational singing. This has not changed.

The idea is that singing is the equivalent to coughing in regards to the spread of the virus. So we should exercise caution.
In my opinion, it would be best if the congregation was NOT encouraged to sing. However, I see no issue with the worship team singing (without masks but spaced from each other and the congregation). If the congregation chooses to join in, they should do so softly with masks on.

For your reading pleasure… here are the links to the amended law:

The main page is the same, and the laws are at the bottom. https://www.quebec.ca/en/health/health-issues/a-z/2019-coronavirus/situation-coronavirus-in-quebec/#recherchePiv

The amended law in acted August 26:
English
https://cdn-contenu.quebec.ca/cdn-contenu/adm/min/sante-services-sociaux/publications-adm/lois-reglements/AM_2020-059-anglais.pdf?1598535608

French
https://cdn-contenu.quebec.ca/cdn-contenu/adm/min/sante-services-sociaux/publications-adm/lois-reglements/AM_2020-059.pdf?1598535608

—–
I trust that you will hold tight to our Savior during these interesting times. – The anchor holds! Hebrews 6.

John

August 5th, 2020

Clarifications on latest news from Quebec Government

“250 people and less for indoor public places”

It does NOT mean you can have 250 in church
The new ruling stipulates up to 250. This does NOT replace the previous rule that people must be spaced 2 meters apart.

We calculate that, on average, the 2-meter spacing limits churches to about 15% of the “normal” capacity. Meaning that a church that could regularly seat 200 could now seat approximately 30 when spaced in 2-meter bubbles.

This number may vary depending on the allowance for those in the same household to sit together. Each church should do its own seating plan and calculate its maximum number. Regarding the spacing, it is unclear if it should be 2 meters or 1.5 meters when seated. There is no clarity on this when it comes to churches. However, it would seem that the idea behind the differences has to do with seating. – in most cases, two chairs between people and one empty row are acceptable. The actual distance, in this case, would be slightly less than 2 meters.

Masks must be worn at all times
Regardless of the number that the church can hold, the law regarding masks still applies. In churches, there is NO exception for the removal of masks when seated. — Meaning that masks must be worn by all, at all times, including when they are seated.
The exception that masks may be removed once seated does NOT apply to churches.

Singing
Technically there has been nothing that we find written into law about singing. The health minister has made comments in previous weeks that there should NOT be singing. However, we have not seen this written into law. Furthermore, in recent press conferences, he has indicated that those who are singing (at the front) should be far from the audience.
So are we to interpret that singing is allowed? We do not have complete answers, and the government has not released specific written instructions for churches.

Are those speaking and leading required to keep masks on?
It would seem that the law is ambiguous. However, a portion of the law states that masks may be removed if required for the exercising of your profession. We would suggest that when preaching, leading, singing etc. it is required that people see your lips, and therefore you need to remove the mask to exercise your profession.

We continue to recommend that you consult with local officials to see how they interpret the rules. Personally, I recommend telling them (rather than asking) how you are interpreting the rules and asking if they have a problem with your interpretation.
Be sure to get the name of the official you speak with.

—–
I trust that you will hold tight to our Savior during these interesting times. – The anchor holds! Hebrews 6.

John

July 24th, 2020

JUST A REMINDER

We feel that it is necessary to communicate the details of the law that was put into place last week.

To this end, you will find the actual law attached. We apologize that this is in French only. Click link : décret numéro 810-2020

The important thing to point out is that, regardless of what you may hear in the media, etc., this law makes two statements regarding places of worship “lieu de culte.”

  1. Places of worship “lieu de culte” ARE considered by this law to be a public place. (Point 2c)
  2. While there is an exception that once seated and distanced from other people, the mask may be removed; this exception specifically does NOT apply to places of worship. (Point 9)

While we have no clarification or interpretation of this law it would seem that in places of worship, a mask must be worn by ALL and cannot be removed by anyone. Seemingly this would apply to those leading the services as well as those attending.

Once again we recommend that if you intend on holding on site services at this time, you should check with your local municipality and police as to how they intend to interpret and apply this law.

—–
I trust that you will hold tight to our Savior during these interesting times. – The anchor holds! Hebrews 6.

John

July 3rd, 2020

50 people and less for indoor public places?

Dear friends as the Government is now allowing gatherings of up to 50 people inside, some churches are considering reopening.

We are therefore resending the PAOC basic Manual (see link below) and including the following directives / advises for you.
The Government has not “officially” released a list of directives for churches, however, the list below comes from various news sources and press releases.

—–
I trust that you will hold tight to our Savior during these interesting times. – The anchor holds! Hebrews 6.

John

Layout of the place of worship

Post a notice at the entrances to the place of worship indicating the maximum capacity, access conditions and health rules in force.

The maximum capacity is NOT 50 rather the number of people that can be seated while remaining properly distanced. This number may be up to a maximum of 50 depending on the number the local can accommodate. For example a church that formerly could accommodate 200 people could now possibly seat only 30 people while distanced.

The Entrance and Exit should be separate doors – allowing for a “one way” flow of traffic.

Make sure that the place of worship is well cleaned between each use and is properly ventilated.

  • Cleaning. Refer to INSPQ cleaning procedures: Surface cleaning
    The cleaning products to be used are those approved by Health Canada: Hard-surface disinfectants
  • Ventilation. If there is mechanical ventilation, be sure to clean the filters. The doors of the place of worship could also be left open between services to allow ventilation. The INSPQ’s recommendations for ventilation in health care settings will be useful: Ventilation

Provide a hand-washing station at the entrance to the place of worship and make its use mandatory for all on arrival, under supervision.

  • Reminder: Hand washing with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds is preferred, antiseptic gel should only be used when these are not available. The composition of the gels must comply with public health standards.
  • Government published posters will be used:

Other restrictions we have noted:

  1. Masks should be worn by all.
  2. There should be no singing.
  3. There should be no passing of offering plates, communion, etc. and no serving of coffee, food etc.
  4. There should be no children’s services.
  5. Adults over 60 / 70 should be discouraged from attending.

Further recommendations:
Arrival and set up 

  • Groups are recommended to have guests register in advance; provides a clear indication of the anticipated number of guests while ensuring the capacity limit is adhered to.
  • Lead pastor and volunteers – no more than one hour in advance of guest arrival.
  • H&S measures and auditorium seating map to be shared with the group in advance of service and again upon arrival (hard copies).
  • Guest arrival time: staggered times to ensure social distancing is adhered to. Ex: 9:30 am service start, 10-12 guests arrive beginning at 9:00 am and stagger every 5 minutes (based on provincial guidelines, subject to change).
  • Guests are directed by volunteers from the church immediately to the auditorium, absolutely no congregating permitted.
  • Volunteers from the group are to direct guests to dedicated rows and seats based on the seating map provided. The church group is responsible for ensuring these guidelines are being adhered to throughout the duration of the service.
  • Families greater than two individuals who sit together are to ensure there are three seats on either side in the same row.

Leaving

  • Upon completion of the service, volunteers are to assist with directing guests to the nearest exit, no congregating permitted.

Additional resources:

Reopening the Church (updated)

June 19th, 2020

50 people and less for indoor public places?

Many of you have heard the news, the government has agreed to allow the opening of the places of worship with a maximum of 50 people.

As members of the Réseau Évangélique du Québec, we are also part of the Interfaith committee that has been in consultation with the Health Minister. That committee has issued the following bulletin and we believe that the Health Minister will issue’s a similar policy.

May the same great God of the prophet Daniel accompany you and give you wisdom in the application of the laws.

—–
I trust that you will hold tight to our Savior during these interesting times. – The anchor holds! Hebrews 6.

John

English manual

French manual

June 10th, 2020

Are we there yet?

Any parent who has ever gone on a trip with young kids (even not so young) has heard this question.

Well, the answer for churches is still NO.

However, as we do come closer to seeing some easing (NOT the removing) of the restrictions, we thought it prudent to release this manual to you.

What the manual does NOT cover:
Please note that the manual does NOT answer the questions:
1)     When can we return?
2)     How many people can be in our church at a time?
3)     What will the requirements be from the Quebec Government?

These questions are still unanswered. What we do know is that any return will be gradual and will have complications.

For example, in Ontario, churches (NOT Quebec) have been permitted to return at 30% capacity. Quebecchurches are to remain closed for now.

The questions and complications will involve deciding who the first few to return will be, and what needs to be done as they return.

The manual attempts to assist you in answering the second question – you will need to wrestle with the first.

Furthermore, we will send an addendum covering any additional requirements specific to Quebec, if and when the government provides the information.

What the manual does cover:
The manual provides some basic guidelines that can be applied across the provinces. As we receive more specifics for Quebec from our government, we will keep you informed.

Here is the index from the attached manual.

  • Before You Begin *
  • Getting Prepared *
  • Cleaning
  • Volunteers
  • Children’s Ministry
  • Additional Resources
  • Church Survey Sample *
  • Roberts Hall Insurance Covid Q&A *
  • Reopening Checklist (by Smart Church Solutions)
  • Facility Utilization

* Suggested reading – While the entire manual is worth a good read, these portions are of particular value.

—–
I trust that you will hold tight to our Savior during these interesting times. – The anchor holds! Hebrews 6.

John

English manual

French manual

May 13th, 2020

HEY! I WANT TO GET MARRIED,
AM I ALLOWED???

We’ve had a few questions coming to our office, the title is one of them – here is a short response:

– Weddings –

Several churches have contacted the “Directeur de l’état civil” asking if they are allowed to perform weddings.
The general answer given is that weddings performed during this time will be considered legal.

However, does that mean that you can gather five or more people together?
The answer is “NO – but maybe”.

Each municipality and each local police force are responsible for applying and enforcing the regulations, AND they may have different opinions on what these regulations are and how they should be applied.

Our advice is to contact your local police (and or municipality) and ask them what they are allowing in your area and what they would allow in your building. – Be sure to get the name of the person giving you the information.

In some areas (outside of Montreal), police have allowed small groups of people to be in the church building at the same time, provided physical distancing is maintained.
In other areas, they have refused to allow anything more than three people.

You may also consider options such as an outdoor wedding. Again, it is important to consult your local police to see what would be permitted in your area.

– Funerals –

When it comes to funerals, the responsibility rests on the funeral home. Some funeral homes may allow small numbers of people. The number of people permitted may vary depending on their facility and the local municipality and police.

– Annual Business meetings –

Finally, the question has come back to us regarding Business meetings.
Our opinion remains the same – unless there are extenuating circumstances, we feel that churches should wait until there is a relaxing of the regulations before holding the ABM. I noted in an earlier email that both ourselves and lawyers feel that this is acceptable and we have had no indication from the CRA to the contrary.

While some churches have attempted online Business meetings, the legality of this is not clear. Furthermore, there are complications involved in voting and asking questions in an online meeting.

Clearly, we would all like to see things change – however, until they do, we need to do our best to abide by the recommendations coming from the government. From our office, we continue to monitor the situation and will keep you apprised of any changes we see.

—–
I trust that you will hold tight to our Savior during these interesting times. – The anchor holds! Hebrews 6.

John

April 22nd, 2020

GOVERNMENT FINANCIAL AID

We are continuing to monitor the information regarding the government programs available to assist businesses (including Charities).

Here is the most recent information:

– Regarding Employment (Employees) –

There are currently two programs that could be interesting to the churches.

Here is a quick outline of what we know:

10% Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employers
10% of Federal tax portion of payroll

Churches can withhold 10% of the Federal tax portion of the regular Deductions At Source.

Here is a link for further information:

– Click link

CEWS – Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy
75 % of payroll

The application forms for this program will be available Monday, April 27.

The key things we’ve picked up are:

The program will provide a 75% wage subsidy to employers for up to 12 weeks going back to March 15.

The purpose of the program is:

  • To prevent job losses.
  • To rehire those laid off.
  • Allow companies to resume regular activity.

Who qualifies?

  • Those with 15% reduction of income in March 2020 compared to March 2019.
  • Those with 30% reduction of Income in April and May compared to the same months in 2019.

Applying:

  • You must apply for the subsidy each month separately. (i.e. each month you must provide documentation of the 30% loss for that particular month).
  • The CRA will pay 75% of salaries, capped at $847 per week per employee. The employer must show they did their best to pay the other 25% (and if the employee makes more than $58,700 per year, presumably they are allowed to pay the full salary).
  • The government strongly recommends that anyone applying should also get set up with the CRA for direct deposit if they aren’t already, as that is the primary way they will be sending money to employers. This is something that you can do now.

Time Periods:

March 15 – April 11
April 12 – May 9
May 10 – June 6

  • If you qualify in one time period, you are deemed qualified for the next time period automatically.
  • There may be additional time periods added up until September 30.

Here is a link for further information:

– Click link

– Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) –

$40,000 loan 
This program would provide interest-free loans of up to $40,000.

Purpose of loan:

The loan is to help cover operating costs during a period where revenues have been temporarily reduced.

To qualify:

you will need to demonstrate that you paid at least $20,000 in total payroll in 2019 as well as meet the criteria for an approved Borrower.

There is some question on the eligibility of a religious organization in this program. Currently, the wording indicates that a “…charitable, religious…organization…” will need to provide evidence that it “…generates a portion of its revenue from the sales of goods or services…”

While there is no definition of what “a portion” is, in my opinion, churches will have to prove that there is revenue from sales or services of some kind.

The important part in considering this loan program is that an approved borrower that repays the balance of the loan on or before December 31, 2022, will result in loan forgiveness of 25 percent (up to $10,000).

How to apply:

You will need to contact your financial institution to apply for the loan.

– Click link to know more.

—–
I trust that you will hold tight to our Savior during these interesting times. – The anchor holds! Hebrews 6.

John

April 6th, 2020

Annual business meeting… What to do!

My Fellow Pastors,

I have had several questions asking if the church should hold the annual business meeting.

After communicating with the other Districts and also lawyers, the consensus is to wait. These are extraordinary circumstances, and we believe that the temporary delay is reasonable.

In the meantime, if there were board members whose terms were ending, we recommend that a board resolution be adopted, extending the mandate until the business meeting is held. You can hold a board meeting by phone or online.

I trust that you and your families are keeping well. Together we look to Him as we navigate uncharted waters.

John

April 2nd, 2020

GOVERNMENT FINANCIAL AID

– Employee benefits programs –

Thank you to all of you who continue to be faithful in your tithing to the District.
We are certainly living in interesting days, and we are praying for each of you as we navigate these waters together.

Some of you have asked about the method for tithing — can you continue to send cheques etc. The answer is YES, please continue to do use whatever method of giving you have used in the past. The District continues to receive mail, online giving and direct deposits.

Many of you are asking about the programs available from the government to assist businesses (including Charities). The details are coming from the government slowly. However, due to the number of requests for information I have received, I will share with you what we know so far.

– Regarding Employment (Employees) –

There are currently three programs that could be interesting to the churches.
Here is a quick outline of what we know — thanks to those helping me compile information. We will continue to keep you up to date as information becomes available.

Receive 75 % of payroll 
This program is NOT yet available but should come online in 3-6 weeks.

The key things we’ve picked up are: 

  1. All organizations that show a loss of 30% or more in revenue compared to the same month in 2019 qualify (March–May).
  2. If you do not have a 30%+ loss, and you have less than 18 employees, then the 10% subsidy will still apply to you (and you can withhold paying the CRA federal tax remittances up to Dec. 2019 to reclaim the 10%).
  3. For those who do have a loss of at least 30%:
    a.  They must apply for the subsidy each month separately (ie. each month they have to provide documentation of the 30% loss for that particular month).
    b. The CRA will pay 75% of salary, capped at $847/wk. The employer must show they did their best to pay the other 25% (and if the employee makes more than $58,700 per year, presumably they are allowed to pay the full salary)
    c.  The portal to submit monthly applications will be launched on the CRA – Revenu Canada Portal within the next 3-6 weeks, and they will get money out after that ASAP.
    d. They strongly recommended that anyone applying should also get set up with the CRA for direct deposit if they aren’t already, as that is the primary way they will be sending money to employers. This is something that could be done while people are waiting for the portal to open.

It seems that parliament will have to re-open to approve this program. That means there could potentially be some changes made.

This should be the best program for churches to keep staff right now, as long as they’re sure that their revenue will drop by 30%.

Here are some links for further information
– Click link 1 
– Click link 2 (This page is only available in English)

Canada Emergency Response Benefit ($2000 for employees)
This program is for individuals who have lost their jobs or have been laid off
– Click link

Temporary Layoffs and employees collect EI 
This is the standard EI program. However, you could register for the Supplementary program if you would like to “top up” your employees’ EI benefits during a temporary layoff.
– Click link

You can add EI subprogram
– Click link (This page is only available in English)

I trust that you will hold tight to our Savior during these interesting times. – The anchor holds! Hebrews 6.

John

March 30th, 2020

Considering layoffs — Please wait.

Dear friends,

I’m sending this out ahead of time and without all the information because I want to encourage any church that has considered laying off staff to wait.

Today Prime Minister Trudeau promises that the 75% wage subsidy for businesses would extend to non-profits and charities.

We are continuing to gather information and will give you more information as it becomes available. In my next email, I hope to outline the financial assistance that is available to churches and, in particular, the options for dealing with payroll and staff.

One positive that I can mention is regarding our Group insurance – here is the announcement from Kechnie Insurance:

Group Insurance:

  • PREMIUM HOLIDAY – your premiums for Health, Dental & Vision (where applicable) will not be billed for the month of April, which represents approximately 70% of the cost of your program.
  • POOLED PREMIUMS – will only be billed for Life/Dependent Life/LTD – Long Term Disability/CI – Critical Illness, which ensures that we do not disrupt any payroll setting, as these premiums have taxable consequences.  These premiums represent approximately 30% of the cost of your program.

I trust that you will hold tight to our Savior during these interesting times.
– The anchor holds! Hebrews 6.

John

March 25th, 2020

– All district activities scheduled until May 31 have been cancelled or postponed.
– Following the government’s recommendations, the District of Quebec offices are closed until April 13.
– We remain at your disposal via our social networks and the following email: info@dq.paoc.org.

March 24th, 2020

Recently I have had some questions about resources available to our churches and in particular about ONLINE GIVING.

The following is by no means exhaustive – but it may help.

Online giving:
While I am not an expert and cannot say what is best for your particular situation, here is some information that I trust will be helpful.

Here are a few of the services out their, listed in no particular order. There are also others.

These two will do tax receipts for you:

Others:

  • Square https://squareup.com also offers both in person and online payments with credit and debit cards.

In my experience Canada Helps is the fastest to setup – but not cheapest.
PayPal is the best value.
And Square allows you to take credit cards in person by swiping.

For other church resources 

I would recommend a look at: https://paoc.org/church-toolbox.

March 19th, 2020

Important release: COVID-19

Dear credential holders,

A month ago, it would have been hard to imagine that our province and our country would take extreme measures in the midst of the COVID-19 WORLD PANDEMIC. As we watch the increase in reported cases day after day, our government leaders are asking us to join in an effort to “smooth the curve” in the spread of this disease.
Reactions to this crisis have been mixed. Some believe it is an overreaction; others believe more needs to be done.

Paul, John and I will be contacting you by phone to check in on you and, together, to find the best way to support one another during this unprecedented situation. We recognize that, as leaders, you are in the best position to make decisions that are appropriate to your local context.

1. No public gatherings

The Public Health Agency of Canada National Director recommends the following: With regard to places of worship, all religious gatherings of any denomination should ideally be suspended, unless they are essential. In this case, social distancing should be observed.
(https://www.quebec.ca/premier-ministre/actualites/detail/le-gouvernement-du-quebec-mobilise-plus-que-jamais-assure-francois-legault/ )

Because of these guidelines and the fact that many of our congregations have a number of older people, we recommend that churches close all services and gatherings until further notice.
The District leadership also recommends that there should be no small group gatherings. However, if they are absolutely necessary, they should be very brief and follow the public health guidelines of the two-meter social distancing.

2. Encourage other ways of celebrating

If you have the technology, organize online services such as Facebook Live or video.

Encourage your congregation to organize family worship times. Family worship was once a common practice among Christian families throughout the week, even with participation in Sunday worship.

3. Keep in touch with your congregation

Take this opportunity to call, email or send social media messages to your congregation. This will reassure and encourage people. Take this opportunity to pray with them.

4. Postpone annual members meetings

If you have not yet had your annual business meeting, wait until public meetings are allowed again.

5. Set up online giving

Now is the time to set up other ways to give. There are different ways to donate, such as Canadahelps, PayPal, etc.

6. Reach out to the elderly

This is a good time to offer service to the elderly in your church and community who may need help with shopping and other needs.

7. A call to prayer

Finally, let us call our congregations to pray for the wisdom of government authorities, both federal and provincial, who are leading us through this difficult time. Let us also pray for our front-line health care workers who are sacrificing themselves to serve us in this health crisis.

Let us lead our assemblies calmly and confidently, knowing our God. Let us be responsible Christians who care for those around us with love and sacrificial concern.

Knowing that his friends would soon be confronted with unprecedented difficulties, Jesus said in John 14.27: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

May the peace and wisdom of Christ fill your hearts at this time as you lead your congregation in this unique season.

If we can be of help in any way, do not hesitate to contact us.

In Christ,
Michel

March 14th, 2020

Reminder of copyright standards

We are aware that a number of churches have chosen to cancel services. Some of these will turn to video broadcasting online through various means.
We would like to remind you that it is a copyright violation to broadcast music performances if you do not have the performances rights (license) this includes your worship service. If you chose to broadcast the worship you MUST have the licensed rights to do so. Exceptions to this are for some of the older hymns where copyrights have expired due to age or song that you own people have written.

March 12th, 2020

To avoid a situation similar to that of Italy, one of the countries most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Legault government has just issued new procedures to be followed (article link).
The Quebec District wishes to apply these measures and we urge you to do the same.

– They ask organizers to cancel all events that may attract crowds of more than 250 people and to do the same for all other large gatherings that are not considered essential.
– They also encourage all those returning from a trip abroad to isolate themselves for 14 days.
– They advise people to stay home and call 811 if they detect the following symptoms: fever, cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing or chest pain, severe diarrhea or vomiting, and unusually severe fatigue.

One of our churches has already taken action by communicating the following message (shortened) to its congregation:

Just a quick note to let you know that the leadership team is following the current coronavirus situation with great attention. The situation is changing rapidly and has just moved to a new level.
Here is a simple summary:

1) Anyone who has travelled outside the country within the last 14 days, even without symptoms, is invited to remain voluntarily isolated at home for 14 days (please refer to the attached document).

2) Anyone who has travelled out of the country within the last 14 days and who has flu-like symptoms should call 811.

Those who have not travelled out of the country and who are not sick are obviously welcome to attend our meetings. We will have hand sanitizers available for you and we will have fraternal hugs from a distance, but the heart and good mood will be there for sure!

Please know that as a church we believe it is important to comply with these recommendations, not out of fear or paranoia, but out of sincere concern to do what is right in the face of the current situation. We will keep you informed of any changes. Thank you for your cooperation and prayers.

Hoping to have answered most of your questions, do not hesitate to call 811 for more information.

By calling 811, you will know where to go to get tested and what instructions to follow.
Stay in isolation at home until the test result is returned.
(Please refer to the attached very well done document).

We exist to provide support, vision and training to leaders in our churches

and to facilitate the proclamation of the Gospel.